Township of Langley Civic Facility. (Langley Advance Times files)

Council wants better than ‘strip mall’ in Willoughby

Councillor dubs development plan “one of the worst” in years

Langley Township councillor will re-consider a plan for a small local shopping centre after they rejected it last week for not being ambitious enough.

On Monday, May 11, council put off a vote on a Pollyco development at 204th Street and 80th Avenue in Willoughby.

The proposed project is a small cluster of single-storey retail shops around a parking lot.

“This development is probably one of the worst that we’ve seen in a long, long time,” said Councillor Eric Woodward. “I don’t personally care that it’s in the neighbourhood plan, it’s bad development.”

Woodward and other councillors asked why the developer wasn’t asking for mixed-use development, with housing or offices above the commercial space.

“I find it on the verge of absurd to be constructing a single-storey auto-oriented strip mall in the centre of Willoughby,” Woodward said.

“This is the way of the future,” said Coun. Kim Richter, in favour of a mixed use plan for the site.

A majority of council voted to refer the project back to staff so they could speak to the developer about other uses for the site beyond single-storey retail. Coun. Bob Long was opposed.

Mayor Jack Froese asked municipal staff about what was allowed under the area’s neighbourhood plan.

The site is currently zoned residential, but the Yorkson Neighbourhood Plan calls for retail or offices on the site, said Ramin Seifi, the Township’s head of engineering and community development.

Under the current neighbourhood plan, they could have a maximum of two storeys for buildings there, said Seifi.

The council could amend the neighbourhood plan, he said.

Woodward called for developers to bring high-quality projects that will encourage more walkable neighbourhoods before council.

Froese said this week that he will bring the motion back for reconsideration at the special meeting Monday, May 25, at which the council will also consider relaxing patio rules for local restaurants.

READ MORE: Township council to debate bigger patios for restaurants

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